In celebration of Veterans’ Day, we are pleased to announce the opening of Aztecs at War: Spotlight on the Georgia Amsden and Herman F. Fritzenkotter Papers, a small exhibit in the Special Collections foyer. This exhibit showcases the military-related papers of San Diego State professor Georgia Amsden as well as San Diego State alumn Herman F. Fritzenkotter.
Georgia Amsden was the only female traveling representative for the Federal Department of Vocational Education during and after World War I. She initially volunteered for the Red Cross in France, but was "loaned" to the Federal Department of Vocational Education because of her specialized set of skills and experience. As a traveling representative, Amsden went to various US military camps and hospitals in France between 1918 and 1919. Her job was to distribute vocational "propaganda" in support of the Smith-Hughes Re-Education Act, and interview wounded soldiers about potential job prospects back in the United States. She returned to San Diego in 1919. In 1925, she became an associate professor of business education at San Diego State College and taught there until her retirement in 1957. Items on display include her work reports, Red Cross permits, passport, souvenirs, Red Cross buttons and patches, correspondence, and photographs.
Herman Fredrick Fritzenkotter graduated from Sweetwater High School in 1941 and enrolled at San Diego State College that same year. Shortly thereafter, he left college to join the Merchant Marines. In September of 1943, he enlisted with the United States Army. He was sent to Europe where he served as Message Center Chief for the 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th (Ivy) Division. Fritzenkotter and his regiment saw action in Normandy, the Ardennes, the Battle of the Bulge, the Rhineland, and in Central Europe. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal in 1945 for bravery on the field. After the war, Fritzenkotter returned to San Diego State College and received a bachelor’s degree in art. Items on display include WWII military artifacts including a German gas mask, a strategic German military map, and a ceremonial Nazi dagger; correspondence; Fritzenkotter’s many medals, including his Bronze Star as well as his fascinating scrapbook with photographs of camp life, war-torn Germany, and concentration camps.
Special Collections holds numerous other military-related collections of San Diego State faculty/staff and alumns, including the WWII San Diego State Servicemen’s Correspondence Collection, the Robert M. Briggs Papers, the Filomena Manor Papers, and many others.
Are you an SDSU student, alum, or former faculty/staff member interested in donating papers from your military career? If so, contact Robert Ray, Head of Special Collections & University Archives at (619) 594-4303 or firstname.lastname@example.org